Post the acquisition of China operations of its arch rival Uber last year, Didi Chuxing has been mulling the decision to expand and shell out a chunk of capital from its flooding coffers. And now, the ride-hailing has taken its first step with a humongous $100 million investment into Brazil-based taxi aggregator 99. The Chinese giant has also secured a seat on the board of directors of the Brazilian startup.
Formerly known as 99Taxis, 99 is a competitor against the massive $63 billion ride-hailing giant Uber. It is planning to use the fresh capital infusion towards the product and technology development, operations and business planning. The company also wants to continue efforts towards the expansion of its service in Brazil and other markets in Latin America. It is looking forward to support from Didi execs in further improvement of its service — double its presence in the region in 2017.
Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of DiDi Chuxing commented on its global expansion as under:
China and Latin America are the main emerging markets in the world, with great opportunities for our urban mobility industry. The partnership with 99, the Brazilian market leader, will enable DiDi to begin to share its products and operational capacity with diverse communities and innovators, thus creating a framework for innovation as envisaged by our leaders during the G20 Summit of 2016.
Based out of Sao Paulo, 99 was founded by a trio of young Brazilian entrepreneurs Renato Freitas, Ariel Lambrecht, Paulo Veras in 2012. It was started with the goal of offering taxi booking services for both personal and business purposes in the cities of South America. Now, it has a presence in 550 cities in the country with over 140,000 registered drivers and 10 million app downloads. This is way more compared to 30 cities which Uber currently serves across 12 countries in South America.
Speaking on the investment in a loosely translated blog post, Paulo Veras, executive chairman of 99, says,
The 99 is very excited about this partnership with DiDi, the largest and best way-sharing platform. We will expand our services and reshape the competitive profile of the market in Latin America.
When the deal between Uber China and Didi Chuxing was finalised, it seemed that the ride-hailing wars between these two would ultimately die down. But the Chinese cab aggregator isn’t paying much heed to their partnership in their home country and planning to take the fight to them in other global regions as well. It is already a part of an ‘Anti-Uber Alliance’ and has poured in capital into Uber rivals — Lyft, Grab and Ola across U.S, Southeast Asia and India respectively.
In addition, the Brazilian ride-hailing service has raised more than $25 million in three rounds of funding from investors including the likes of Qualcomm Global, Qualcomm Venture, Tiger Global Management, StartCaps Ventures, monashees+ among others. Cab aggregation is currently the hottest market with the most competition among companies operating under the same.